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What if you could sue someone for calling you a racial slur? In the 90s, one country that always looked very similar to America decided to allow it, rolling back the rights to free speech in the interest of protecting victims of hate speech. Is the result a slippery slope to government tyranny, or a more harmonious society? The moral right to hate speech does not run as deep in the U.S. as most people believe. Only in the last 80 years of litigation and activism has it become protected. On this episode, we look at the story of a racial slur that led to a precedent, we take a whirlwind tour of landmark First Amendment cases, and two philosophers argue about whether morality is on the side of U.S. law. It might not be.
Guest voices include Sonny Sidhu, Tim Soutphommasane, philosopher Jeffrey Howard, and philosopher Seana Shiffrin.
There is a special bonus episode for Slate Plus listeners only where Stephen Metcalf, Slate's critic-at-large and host of Slate Culture Gabfest, sits down with Barry to talk about the philosophical issues from this episode. Subscribe to the SlatePlus version of Hi-Phi Nation to get the episode.